The right way to go – benefits of a baby push walker
In the past babies really only had one option when it came to walking: learn the old-fashioned way. However, with the advent of baby push walkers there was actually more of a drive for babies to learn quicker and better improve their fine motor skills. With the first notion of movement on two feet you should certainly consider giving your kid the fun and added support of a push walker, first because pulling up using on improves a sense of coordination, and so does driving one, secondly because moving a pusher will actually further develop your baby’s depth perception better than traditional learning can provide. Additionally, these toys are fun and encourage balance, imagination, and even basic learning of shapes and other skills great for younger children.
First steps done right – starting to use a push walker
First you should ensure your baby is at the right age for a push walker, typically this can be anywhere between the ages of 4 and 16 months and most walkers on the market are designed specifically for these ages with even up to 4 years old. The best way to determine if your baby is ready to start standing is by judging their strength and rate of development; typically, if they’re pulling themselves up onto furniture then they’re ready for a push walker. However, if they can’t fully support their head yet, you might want to wait a little longer.
Once you have your baby walker let your infant get acquainted with the toy and start discovering how it works on their own – don’t just prop them up grabbing the handle. If your baby is at the right exploratory age, they’ll be more comfortable discovering the walker, pulling themselves up with it, and moving it all on their own. At first progress will be slow, this is because your baby is slowly discovering and training their body to operate hands, feet, and body weight all at once. There will also be a learning curve based on balance and coordination as they walk and push their walker – this is a great time for parents to enjoy the wonders of baby development and growth.
Help your baby to use a push walker
Often the biggest help you can offer as a parent is as an example.
If your baby isn’t figuring out the push walker on their own it’s of great advantage for you to ‘test it out’ and push it around the room while making excited noises. First, this will demonstrate to them how the toy operates, second, this will show them that walking with their push walker is fun and not challenging.
Other ways you can help are actually those times when you’re not using the push walker. For instance, just as your baby is first learning to stand offer them your hands and slowly help them up. Once their standing let go and count out loud how long they can stand up before they fall, make sure you cheer each and every time they do a good job (oh, and you may want pillows for this suggestion). Another thing you can do is sit across the room from them and encourage them to walk the distance to you; at first make this a small distance (2 or 3 feet) and then gradually make the game more challenging.
Safety step by step with a baby push walker
The main area of safety actually depends on space – the space in a house or room that your baby has to wheel around. If you have a cluttered dining room, entryway, or living room, move your furniture to the sides and pick up other obstacles which might waylay your walking child. In limited quarters your baby is much more likely to slam into a coffee table, or worse fall backward into one, and to also get the wheels caught on smaller objects which interrupt the objective of walking.
Other safety concerns are the wheels themselves, make sure these are made from rubber!
Harder large wheels can run over your feet or your babies’ feet and cause major injury, if you have small pets their safety is also a concern. Handles should be tightened on your walker otherwise your baby will pull them free and fall over when trying to lift themselves up.
For the best learning experience consider keeping your baby barefoot, this is because learning to walk barefoot actually increases their awareness of their legs and feet in the walking process, as well as strengthens their muscles better than walking with shoes (at this stage) would.
Features to consider while buying the sturdiest baby push walker
Many of the features listed and further described below were listed in the detailed reviews of our walkers, it’s our hope you’ll read through these if you have any feature related questions; for your benefit we’ve also included examples of products which best demonstrate particular attributes.
The most important concern here is the size and height of the handle, rather than the overall size of the cart. With a higher handle your smaller baby might not be able to reach until they grow a bit more, however some kids are too tall for certain products. At their current stage you should measure their height, but also one of the best options is a push walker with an adjustable handle. For adjustable handles you should certainly consider the Plan Toy Baby Walker. Other size concerns actually depend on the overall stretch of your walker – how wide or long is it? – because the wider and longer the push walker is the more balance it will offer as your baby pulls themselves up with it. Smaller walkers are more likely to tip over, whereas wide walkers like the Hape Wonder Walker are great for all babies.
Another tipping concern is the weight of the walker. Your baby should not easily be able to pull it over onto themselves or fall over and carrying it down on top of them. Lightweight products are much more likely to tip over when your baby falls, whereas a heavier model – such as the Radio Flyer Classic Walker Wagon – offers great support and is quite impossible to tip over. Rule of thumb: if you set a 7-pound object in front of your baby and they can easily pull it over, don’t get a 7lb push walker.
Is it age appropriate?
Typically, the age most infants start walking is around 9 months old, though you’ll see that most walkers are listed for only 12 months and up. This is largely a suggestion which depends on the development of the baby – some babies develop quicker than others – and so the final judgment is yours as a parent. One great beginner product for a range of ages is the PlanToys Van Walker.
In many ways the durability of the product will depend on the company you purchase it from. Different companies use different materials for their walkers, however these tend to be non-toxic with soft woods and rounded edges. Not only are rounded edges and soft woods best for durability (since your baby might be bumping into things), but these features will also further protect your child when they fall or trip over their toy.
As a parent it depends on what you want for your child and what you want for your home. Some push toys are very simple and provide an experience for your baby to learn how to stand, walk, and push something at the same time. Additionally, these simple toys can also teach your baby how to clean up toys into a cart that they push, and how to do activities like ‘move forward’ and ‘move backward’. For simple carts one active feature which will alter the experience is a ‘brake’ or ‘tensioning’ mechanism which can make the walker move at faster or slower speeds. The PlanToys Baby Walker and HABA Moover both have fantastic tension dials.
More complicated toys offer the active use of added stimulation. These products include toys, moving pieces, and even puzzles to encourage the developmental growth of your babies brain. A great product which has both a brake system and added parts for stimulation is the Hape Wonder Walker.
Other height concerns not mentioned till this point are the height of the push walkers base. A high base on a push walker will actually facilitate a beginner to lift themselves up more easily than a lower base normally would.
The best push walkers use natural substances (such as wood rather than plastic), however some plastic products and pieces are okay to purchase so long as their listed non-toxic and therefore not harmful to children. Other concerns are the paints and dyes which are used to color the walkers as well as the included toys, it’s always best to check that dyes and finishes are made from 100% non-toxic materials; your baby will place their mouths on their push walker, it’s a guarantee.
This is in regards to carrying and moving the walker when its not in use as well as when its being rolled along by your baby. Make sure you pick a product which stores easily, isn’t too heavy for a parent to lift, and can also be pushed by your baby with little hassle but not tones of speed. A great easy-store product on our list is the snap-apart HABA Moover.
Again, pick a product which is narrow enough to fit into a specific corner or closet in your house, the best products break down after use and tuck simply away in the box they came in or other storage space of your choosing. One of the smallest products is the PlanToys Van Walker, and one of the most storable products is the HABA Moover.
For the most part assembly should be easy and require very few tools; in fact, almost all of the products on our list offer no-tool assembly right out of the box.
A great warranty will give you plenty of time to test the product and see how your child operates with it and if they’re capable of breaking it on their own. You should at least have a 3-month testing window where your baby is able to learn and use the toy; if it has any manufacturing errors or is not designed as promised your warranty should allow you to return, exchange, or get repairs for the product with no hassle and very little extra cost.